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Committee Evaluates Walker's Role and Use

By Stacey E. Blau
News Editor

The Walker Memorial Strategic Planning Committee is currently developing a "program concept to determine the mission" of Walker Memorial, said Director of the Campus Activities Complex Phillip J. Walsh, chair of the committee.

The plan will examine both the physical repairs needed and a restructuring of the internal space for more efficient and diverse use, said Amy T. Mackay '97, the student representative of East Campus and Senior House.

Suggestions have included proposals for a wellness and fitness center, a performing arts center, a graduate student center, a cultural center, and an international center, Walsh said. The final plan may incorporate one or more of these recommendations, he said.

Walker still needs "major reconstruction" to repair structural problems, meet safety codes, and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Mackay said. Plans for this summer include replacing the elevator, converting a storage room into a handicap-accessible restroom, and repairing access ramps on the third floor, Walsh said.

Walker has already undergone several renovations over the past year. The third-floor gymnasium, which was closed and repaired last year because of structural problems, was sanded and refinished last summer. The gymnasium, which serves as a testing room during the week, is open for basketball and volleyball on Friday nights and weekends.

Pritchett Snack Bar on the second floor of Walker reopened this past fall following extensive renovations. Pritchett boasts a 50s diner and a late-night convenience store.

The committee plans to continue its work throughout the spring and summer, but may have to wait until the fall in order to be able to collect more student input, Mackay said.

"This is a very long-range project we're involved in," Walsh said. After the plan is completed, the review process could take another five to 10 years. The actual implementation would cost "in the millions," he said.

The plan "is by no means a quick fix," Walsh said. "We want to do this in a thoughtful manner."

The Walker Memorial committee includes representatives from the faculty, CAC, Office of Residence and Campus Activities, Department of Housing and Food Services, Planning Office, Physical Plant, east campus dormitories, the Graduate Student Council, Undergraduate Association, and the Walker community, Walsh said.

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